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Guest lecture

A Comparative Analysis of the Nativity Wealth Gap

Event series: 

Abstract from Prof Deborah Cobb-Clark's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 26 June 2007.


Prof Deborah Cobb-Clark

Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark is Head of the Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University and is currently co-editor of the Journal of Population Economics. She earned a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan (1990) and has held previous positions in the U.S. Labor Department (1989 – 1991) and Illinois State University (1991 – 1997). She has also been Director of The Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research (SPEAR) Centre (2000-2005) and Associate Director of Research School of Social Sciences (2004-2005), Australian National University.

Professor Cobb-Clark’s research agenda centres around the use of economics and applied econometric methods to evaluate the impact of social policy—e.g., immigration, income-support, health care or equal-employment opportunity policy—on the labour market outcomes of individuals. This emphasis on rigorous evaluation of policy outcomes has led to a number of projects linked to various government agencies both in Australia and abroad. She has published more than three dozen academic articles on the subject of immigration, sexual harassment, health, old-age support and job promotion in top international journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Labour Economics, and Journal of Population Economics.


This topic investigates the sources of the gap in the relative wealth position of immigrant households residing in Australia, Germany and the United States. Results indicate that in Germany and the United States wealth differentials are largely the result of disparity in the educational attainment and demographic composition of the native and immigrant populations, while income differentials are relatively unimportant in understanding the nativity wealth gap. In contrast, the relatively small wealth gap between Australian and foreign-born households cannot be explained by either the distribution of income or immigrants’ characteristics.

Last updated: 
Monday, 15 October 2007